If you have children or were a child in the early 2000s, you are almost certainly familiar with the PBS character Caillou. The four-year-old has provoked controversy on the internet for one particular follicular reason: why doesn’t Caillou have hair?
People from all around the world wonder if he has a medical ailment, or even if he is human. And, like the intense argument over whether pineapple should be on pizza, the controversy over his hair continues to garner attention.
Why Doesn’t Caillou Have Hair? 4 Theories
Originally written as a nine-month-old child, Caillou is based on the books by Christine L’Heureux and Hélène Desputeau of the same name. But why doesn’t he have hair?
The main theory is that he became unrecognizable to preschool readers when he grew older and they gave him hair, so the publisher and show producers decided to keep him bald.
To start, Caillou is an inquisitive, adventurous four-year-old child who explores the world around him. As a preschooler, he matches the franchise’s target demographic. Created by developmental psychologists, Caillou was created with toddlers in mind.
However, when toddlers were asked what they thought about Caillou, they didn’t notice that he was bald until the adults brought it out to them. Even then, the children weren’t alarmed.
They were more attracted to his facial characteristics and the vivid, vibrant colors he wore. Chouette Publishing explained, “Caillou’s baldness may make him different, but we hope it helps children understand that being different isn’t just okay, it’s normal.”
Despite the official statement by the publisher, websites and forums continue to disagree on why Caillou doesn’t have hair. Read on to learn about a handful of theories regarding the four-year-old.
1. Caillou Has Cancer
The exact explanation for Caillou’s bald head on the screen has been a source of contention for decades. One unproven but persistent claim is that he has cancer and that treatment has caused him to lose all of his hair.
Because cancer is never acknowledged on the show, this idea has little weight. Caillou is seen doing a variety of day-to-day activities. However, he is never shown receiving therapy.
One of the major complaints from adult viewers of Caillou is how he gets away with horrible behavior. Theorists suggest that since he has cancer, his parents remain positive and can’t bear to punish him when he is whiny, bratty, and aggressive.
In one banned episode, he violently pinches his newborn sister until she shrieks in pain; in the book, he gets more aggressive and bites her. To solve the issue, Daddy tells Caillou about how much fun it is to be a big brother.
The creators say that the show’s focus is to strengthen the bond between parents and children. They stress that Caillou’s parents appear impossibly positive because a young child of Caillou’s age still sees their parents as role models to be emulated.
Young children usually idealize their surroundings. We see his parents through his eyes.
Caillou Has an Active Imagination
In every episode, Caillou uses his active imagination to learn about the world around him. In this trope, he knows he has cancer and won’t ever grow up, so he imagines himself as the firefighter or policeman he wishes he could grow up into.
Of course, someone could argue that all kids have active imaginations and like to play make-believe. While some adult viewers are frustrated by the lack of educational material in the show, the writers stress that Caillou is targeted at preschoolers.
The cognitive experiences that the main character has are supposed to mimic real-life preschoolers while giving adults insight into their children.
2. Caillou Has a Genetic Defect
When it comes to explaining why Caillou is bald, not all theories point to cancer. Some speculate that he was born with a congenital atrichia-like condition. Those who experience CA are born with hair, but the follicles enter the resting phase of the hair cycle early in childhood and stay there.
While congenital atrichia runs in families, some embryos born to parents who do not have the disorder can develop a gene abnormality on their own.
Caillou’s parents each have a full head of hair. His younger sister had red hair as a newborn. If this argument holds any water as to why Caillou doesn’t have hair, CA originated spontaneously as an embryo.
3. Caillou Is Not Human
Caillou, a four-year-old child, stands 5’11” tall, according to internet detectives. “Each day I grow some more,” he sings at the start of every show, yet he’s already taller than the average man in Canada.
By comparison, his father stands at roughly 12 feet tall; these are hardly human proportions. If he is the son of giants, Caillou doesn’t have hair because giants’ hair grows differently and baldness is common among their offspring.
4. Caillou Has Passed
Caillou’s actions are narrated by an older female voice after the first season. Although some theorists believe the narrator is Grandma, others believe the narrator is Rosie, Caillou’s sister, telling her children about her departed brother.
She speaks affectionately of him in the past tense. In her memories, he was never more than four years old. The world’s hues, as she describes them, never approach the edges of our TV screen.
The bustle of the family in front of us is surrounded by a white haze, implying that these are memories rather than present events.
If she was just two years old, her recollection of her brother might be so hazy that she doesn’t remember him having any hair. She continued to grow with her parents after he passed away, so she remembers more details about them, but less so about her brother.
Frequently Asked Questions
So, Why Doesn’t Caillou Have Hair?
Caillou’s lack of hair might be due to a variety of factors, such as sickness, heredity, or a hazy recollection of his now-aged sister. But the real reason falls on the author and creators of the show.
In short, they wanted to age him from 2 to 4 years old, but it didn’t test well with toddlers, their key demographic. The preschoolers recognized Caillou more easily as the bald character, so they left him that way. Case closed!